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Old 02-11-2019, 10:37 PM   #1
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Solar Install 2018 Aspire 44B

I have learned alot by following IRV2 and now I am asking for help in this ambitious goal of adding Solar and ask your forgiveness for the long post

After Quartzite we have decided to go big and add electrically actuated, electrically operated tilted solar. Found the tilts at the Quartzite show and the owner made an impact on me. Have purchased a Trimetric TM-2030 battery monitor and shunt but not sure where to mount the shunt but monitor will be mounted over the entrance door and used to determine batteries state of charge.

Have purchased two more batteries to add to the four in the coach. I will source another battery tray from NIRVC. This will bring the 20 AmHr to 1170. With the proper charging this should add to the longevity of the coach batteries by not discharging too deep.

Will install at least 1200 Watt solar in parallel. All will be laid on IronRidge racking. The all electric Aspire is amp hungry.

Will purchase two Tristar PWM solar controllers to handle the load. The current location of the SunSaver Duo is tight but should have room. Will have to redo the walls some but not a big project. How to set up to charge house and chassis batteries is yet to be determined.

Will need to decide what to do about cabling from roof to the basement.

Will increase the size of all the battery interconnecting cables to the same size that goes to the inverter/charger.

The Hybrid MagnaSine Hybrid 3000 charger will not be changed.

Have included numerous attachments. One is the Schematic of the solar system and the others are pictures of the SunSaver Duo and Battery area and roof area.

I would like to know what does the dots on the solar panel lines represent on the schematic? Where is the combiner of the two solar panel cables at the roof? Production has used #10 and #6 cable but where does that cable begin and how many feet is #10 and #6 in that run under the roof? I see the two panel wires go into separate mushrooms on the roof but there is only a combiner on the roof for the two Gerardís wires. Knowing how long that #10 and #6 wire run under the roof is critical to keeping the electrical loss to under 3%.

Can a new run of #6 cable be pulled down to the basement area through the same mushrooms? Can a #4 cable be pulled down from the same area. I do not want to cut a new hole in the roof so looking for a way to the basement as close to the battery area as possible. I know Dr Don drilled through the half bathroom for his install but looking for a way without drilling into the roof.

In the hall of the 44B, just past the half bath door, just in front of the sliding door to the bedroom, is a connection for the vacuum hose down low. Behind that wall there is a 6 inch column from ceiling to floor. Could that be opened up and a cable strung from the roof to the basement?

The SunSaver Duo area is not labeled. Could someone please explain the connections on the combiners? Could you also explain the other items at this area and the battery area. Even a qualified electrician will need to know these things.

Finally, is there a diagram of the electrical system of this coach especially the combiner area?

I know this is an ambitious project and will be doing the grunt work on this build but plan to have a qualified RV electrician check my work and make all the necessary connections. I have read Bobís blog. Also JackdanMayer and starting to get a handle on the specifics of this build.

I have asked many questions of Entegra and await their response.

I thank the IRV2 family in advance for your help in this project.

Boon-docking throughout this great country is the final goal.
Solar Schematic.pdf


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Old 02-11-2019, 11:21 PM   #2
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I have done two solar additions for friends, and you will want the official Integra as built drawings for your coach. I recommend you call them at (800) 517-9137 and explain your project plans.
On both projects I did, the original solar panels were "dealer" installed by people failing to use the factory drawings and recommended solar placement. To say it was a mess pulling wiring from places it should have never been run is an understatement, then there was collapsed plywood under the roof because the original panels were not properly installed over internal roof supports, and wind from traveling cracked the underlayment and pulled the roof loose. Once we had the manufacturer's drawings it was a slam dunk to correctly place the panel mounts, cables, the controllers, and inverter. The roof repairs were a much bigger job that would have been prevented by correct placement in the first place.
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Old 02-12-2019, 06:40 AM   #3
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Thanks Oregonpharme. This is the type of information that is helpful so there is not any of those problems down the road.
Should not be too hard to find the roof trusses on the 44B. I will get one of those new fangled sensors that can show where they are. The sum total weight of the panels and rails should not be that much. It is all aluminum.
I sent a email to Entegra and anxious to see what they come back with.
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Old 02-12-2019, 08:16 AM   #4
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I have had the solar panels on our 1st four coaches did not get them om 2018 . Could not see any advantage. The generator auto start is all we need. When DRY CAMPPING unplug anything you can - extra TVs.
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Old 02-12-2019, 01:12 PM   #5
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Why not just get a single larger MPPT controller and run your panels in series/parallel? Advantages are only one solar controller, improved solar harvesting and of course much smaller wiring from panels to controller.
Most bigger [over 200 watt] panels today have voltages too high for a PWM controller.
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Old 02-12-2019, 05:25 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcussen View Post
Why not just get a single larger MPPT controller and run your panels in series/parallel? Advantages are only one solar controller, improved solar harvesting and of course much smaller wiring from panels to controller.
Most bigger [over 200 watt] panels today have voltages too high for a PWM controller.
Totally agree, I haven't done the math but running all your panels in parallel is going to require a much heavier roof-to-controller cabling than the #6 you have mentioned to get your losses down. Using a series/parallel combo will increase the panel voltage thereby decreasing the current and reducing the power loss in the wiring.

I would also agree PWM controllers are totally inappropriate for this project. You want a much more efficient MPPT controller that is designed to deal with the higher voltages you should be using in your design.

I don't know for sure, but the 10 gauge from the panels probably gets connected to the 6 gauge right at the inlet "mushroom".

In regard to the batteries, it may be too late but you may want to consider going Lithium instead. With AGM @ 1200 amp-hours you have 600 useable AH to stay within the 50% DoD recommendation. In the same space as your existing four batteries, with lithium you can probably get the same number of useable AH's, if not more (because you can discharge Lithium to 80% or more). Also, you can take the 30% federal tax credit on the whole deal including the batteries.

I have been eyeing that space in the wall section you described as well for various projects. Might be possible to run a conduit, not sure where it comes out in the basement. But, if you get your system voltage high enough you may just be able to use the 6 gauge cable already installed from roof to basement.

You may want to have a discussion with AM Solar, they can probably help you with the equipment and design details. I have a few friends that have used them with excellent results.
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Old 02-12-2019, 08:00 PM   #7
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Aspire Solar

I used 8 panels rated at 225 watts each and a Magnum PT100 MPPT charger with a ME-ARC50 system controller. Installed 2 strings in parallel of 4 panels in series through a conbiner box using the factory AWG #8 wiring. It works very well.
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Old 02-13-2019, 10:55 AM   #8
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Iím not an expert on RV solar power, but I fully agree with Rob that it would be a good idea to consult with AM Solar (https://amsolar.com) before you get too far down the road. Iíll digress a bit to explain why.

Back in the mid-1990ís and early 2000ís I worked for Del Webb Corporation, one of the premier developers of large-scale master-planned active-adult retirement communities. Anytime we set out to do a community in an area of the country where we had no experience, our CEO would repeatedly remind all the key players to consult frequently with local experts so as to avoid paying too much of what he called ďdumb tax.Ē

He knew we had smart people, but he also reminded us that even smart people donít know what they donít know. As such, you can make a lot of mistakes (i.e., pay a lot of dumb tax) if you plow ahead only to figure out later how you really should have done it.

I donít mean to imply youíre plowing ahead ill-informed. Your initial post makes it clear youíre seeking help and advice. My reason for recommending AM Solar (even though Iíve never done business with them) is that theyíve been in this particular business for 20+ years and have an excellent reputation within the RV community. Whether you choose to have them do some of the work or not, I believe youíll find them valuable to your planning and execution.

There may be other companies with similar levels of RV solar experience, and I suspect other members will chime in with similar recommendations.

Good luck with your project and keep us posted on your progress!
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Old 02-13-2019, 04:37 PM   #9
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As Rob mentioned I to would put in an MPPT charge controller and make two series strings and then parallel to the new controller.

If putting in your Trimetric above the door I found the best place to get the wires down fron up there is to come down the ďAĒ pillar from the top into the front generator area and then run back from there into the basement area. Used a willow stick as fish tape and the access down was easy.

For your chassis battery charging do not try and connect what you have to the new solar controller, cut it off and cap it. The chassis batteries will get a charge for one hour when the house batteries are above 13.3v and the chassis are below 12.6v through the BIM. That is plenty enough to keep them up.
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Old 02-13-2019, 06:20 PM   #10
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I have done the math on our coach, re: the six 150 watt panels I took off our monaco when I traded it in, along with the outback 60 amp mppt controller and the magnum BMK battery monitor.

The factory Entegra solar panel wiring, which I understand to be 2 pairs of 10 gauge from the roof to the basement, is more than enough to handle my 6 panels wired series parallel in strings of 3.

The MPPT controller I have will easily handle the 60 some volts from 3 panels in series.

Using the magnum BMK, I can simply hook it up in the battery bay, connect the phone jack to the existing inverter wiring that is right there and the existing monaco remote above the door will show all the bmk stuff, amps in/amps out/ state of charge, etc.

My outback mppt controller is pretty much automagic, but if it had been available at the time, I would have bought a magnum mppt charger that would use the same comm bus as the coach's existing inverters.
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Old 02-13-2019, 08:17 PM   #11
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Check out Victron Energy products. I installed the BMV-712 battery monitor system.
https://www.victronenergy.com/batter.../bmv-712-smart
I love this product as itís has great features such as Bluetooth connectivity.
They also make great charge controllers.
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Old 02-13-2019, 08:22 PM   #12
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Check out Victron Energy products. I installed the BMV-712 battery monitor system.
https://www.victronenergy.com/batter.../bmv-712-smart
I love this product as itís has great features such as Bluetooth connectivity.
They also make great charge controllers.
You got it. Have inverter/charger, 2 charge controllers, and battery monitor. All bluetooth, did not have to run any wires into coach, can read and set all values from my tablet sitting on the couch.
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Old 02-13-2019, 09:47 PM   #13
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Thanks for all the great comments. I have a lot to consider.

After reading Bob's website I zeroed in on the Morningstar. Will consider the others mentioned and look at series/parallel.

I know of AM Solar. Was up there 2 years ago about a possible install on a 5th wheel.

Lithium will be in my future Voltdoc but want to get the most out of the AGM's while I can.

Thats impressive numbers Jose67. Thanks for the pictures.

Sorry I didn't get a closer look at you build at Quartzsite Don, very impressive with those big titled panels. Look forward to the next time we meet.

Because of birds, trees etc, I was thinking that it would be best to go parallel. Series/Parallel makes sense to get the numbers. For those who run series/parallel, what are your panels producing on cloudy days and when there are some trees?

Does anyone know where all the cables and wires are at the combiners?

Thanks again
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Old 02-14-2019, 12:04 PM   #14
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Have been researching the PT-100 and the Vitron products. Like the idea of the blue-tooth.

I already have the MagnaEnergy Hybrid inverter and the ME-ARC remote. At Quartzite, Dr Don set it right for my rig so happy with both. Also, the PT-100 is made in the good-ole USA. I am leaning to Sensata Technologies even though AM Solar is using Victron.

The PV array calculator on the Sensata website is impressive. I can see why going in series can utilize the #6 Cable already installed in the Aspire. Just concerned about loss of the whole array in cloudy or shadow from trees, etc. The array top will be even with top of the huge Gerard boxes so no shadows from them or air cond's. Will stay away from the sat dish. Might have to move the two antenna's I installed for WIFI and CELL. So I am still on the fence. Need to decide soon. Going to pick up the tilts tomorrow.

Looking for real world results. Not just in full sun. Some have said in the 'Going Green' thread that it does not matter any more because of the way the panels are made these days. I'll read that string again.

This is why I opened the thread. Great input from all. Thanks
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